New Delhi, March 4, 2018

Public sector banks have written off loans worth Rs 516 crore owed by wilful defaulters in the first half of the current fiscal, as per the data collated by the Finance Ministry.

As part of this exercise, 38 loan accounts of wilful defaulters were written off the books of banks during the April-September period of 2017-18, it said.

Write-off in banking parlance means that the bank has made 100% provision from its earning against that account. Following this, non-performing assets (NPAs) are no longer part of its balance sheet.

However, the write-off puts pressure on the balance sheet of banks, as it erodes operating profit.

Since recovery in case of wilful default is very remote, the possibility of write-back in the future is also very little, said a senior bank official.

A wilful defaulter is somebody who has essentially not used the fund for the purpose it has been borrowed or he has not repaid when he can do so; he has siphoned off the funds or he disposed of the assets pledged for loan without the bank's knowledge.

If there is wilful default then where is the possibility of recovery, when the entire exercise was undertaken with a clear intention of default, the official said, adding that banks could only get few of their assets which have been disclosed.

The country's largest lender SBI accounts for over 27 per cent of the total amount owed to public sector banks by wilful defaulters as of March 2017, according to ministry data.

[The Deccan Herald]